Everyone gets a ‘fair-go’ in Australia
Lisa Ring (above), a 34-year-old chartered accountant from Rathfarnham in Dublin, tells a typical tale of the Irish “accidental emigrant” experience in Australia. She trained with Ernst & Young in Dublin before the recession hit and her contract ended. She, along with most of her accountant friends, headed for Sydney and settled around Bondi and Coogee.
“I got the dream job in Yahoo 7, on triple figures,” she says. Having intended to spend just three months in Australia, Ring was with Yahoo for four years before leaving Sydney to travel. On this trip she met her Australian husband-to-be. The couple now live in the regional town of Dubbo, with their three children. “We were able to buy a four-bedroom house with a massive back garden.”
Australian companies place a lot of emphasis on a positive work-life balance, says Ciara Moore (above), a 32-year-old nurse from Greystones who emigrated to London after graduating in 2012, before moving on to Sydney in 2015. “Work starts on time, for the most part finishes on time, and I do not remember the last time I could not take a lunch break, unlike when I trained in Ireland.”
Intensive care nurse Susan Molloy (30) arrived in Sydney in February. Better wages were a huge draw; her salary is now almost double what it was in Ireland, where she earned just ¤18 per hour. “The cost of living is higher here but it is relative to what you earn. My quality of life has vastly improved.”
For 26-year-old primary school teacher Sinead Carr, Australia offered better opportunities than the prospect of going on a “panel” for temporary work in Ireland. She and her partner arrived in Australia with working holiday visas in May 2017. She spent the first year working casual teaching contracts in Melbourne, while he worked in construction and landscaping. “Within a few short months of hard grafting among the Irish ‘tradies’ in Melbourne, he was earning $50 an hour. I was earning $360 a day, picking and choosing when and if I would work.” The couple have since moved to a remote indigenous community in the Northern Territory, where she was offered a teaching contract with a salary of $90,000, two return flights a year, 12 weeks’ paid holidays, and a three-bedroom house rent-free.
For those in construction, the infrastructure projects around Australia offer incomparable opportunities for career progression. Electrician Stephen Pollock was working as a “sparkie” for a small firm before he left Ireland eight years ago. Now living in Perth, he is a maintenance supervisor on Gorgon, one of the world’s largest LNG plants. “I would never have got those kinds of opportunities in Ireland,” he says.
For Neil O’Sullivan, who has lived in Sydney since 2011 and opened the city’s first infrared sauna Nimbus & Co with his fiancée Su Tuttle, “the best thing about Australia is their propensity to push themselves”. “If you’d have asked me five years ago would I be a start-up business owner, I would have laughed at you. To rob the Aussie saying, ‘everyone deserves a fair-go’. You certainly are pushed, or at least given the opportunity, to give things a go here. Maybe that’s why as a country it continues to grow.”